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Why Does My Cat Do That? Potty Police


Do you have a Potty Police Officer (PPO) in your home? You know the type: as soon as you excuse yourself to use the people restroom, the PPO follows in fast pursuit to oversee your *ahem* activities.


Why on earth do cats do that?


For starters, you cat has no concept of this as a social taboo. For cats, elimination is a form of social expression. You're simply marking your territory with your scent. This is anything but private!


Additionally, cats love predictability and routine. Descended from and nearly genetically identical to African Wildcats, our house cats are both predators and prey. On the prey side of the equation, routine offers them security in their territory. And is there anything more routine than a trip to the restroom?


The final, and perhaps more significant, reason why the PPO follows you into the restroom is much more simple: it's positively reinforced. What usually happens when the PPO follows you into the restroom? Do you talk to them? Pet them with a spare hand? This is attention and therefore positively reinforces the policing behavior, strengthening it and making it more likely to occur again.


If you find the potty police behavior disturbing or embarrassing, especially in front of company, we can fix it! Reach out to Best Behavior for a behavior session and we can talk about ignoring the behavior and training a new one. Until then, isn't it nice to have a little company?

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Feline Humane Education from Germantown, MD

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